I love baking, and am so excited about incorporating it into my new series, the Montana Matchmakers. A collection of short stories and short novels, Montana Matchmakers focuses on the fictional small town of Loving, Montana, where the town matchmakers are always at work! In the first short story, Sweet Christmas, Maya Perry doesn’t want anything to do with relationships and love; she’s too busy trying to open her own bakery. While she works on that, she’s one of the employees at the town café, Gallagher’s, where she sometimes serves up her baked creations. One of the local favorites is from a recipe of her grandmother’s, for soft, chewy molasses cookies. Her childhood friend, Dean, has been ordering them every time he comes into the café. On Christmas Eve, Maya and Dean are thrown together—will they have a sweet Christmas? I know I will, because we’ll be baking lots of treats, like these delicious cookies! How about you?
Grandma Perry’s Montana Molasses Cookies
8 Tablespoons (1/2 cup) butter, softened
3 Tablespoons molasses
¾ cup brown sugar
1 egg, at room temperature
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground ginger
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup granulated sugar, for rolling cookies in
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, spices, and salt in a medium bowl. In a stand mixer, cream butter, molasses, and sugar (or with a hand mixer or wooden spoon), scraping bowl once or twice to incorporate the molasses. Add egg and beat until well combined. Then add vanilla and stir, scraping down dough. On slow speed, add dry ingredients to wet and beat to incorporate (dough may be slightly sticky).
Cover and chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour or up to 3 days. If dough has chilled longer than 2 hours, leave out for 30 minutes before baking.
Preheat over to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Roll tablespoons of dough into balls and roll in sugar. Place a few inches apart on baking sheets, and bake for 11-12 minutes. Cool 5 minutes on sheets before transferring to racks to cool. When cool, can be stored for up to a week in airtight containers.
Sweet Romance ~ Contemporary ~ Holiday ~ Second Chances ~ Forced Proximity
All Dean Manning wants for Christmas is a second chance with his first love...
For Maya Perry, Christmas Eve in Loving, Montana is just another lonely closing at the café where she works. Worse, her truck won’t start, and the only person there to help is Dean Manning, her childhood friend, and first kiss at thirteen. They’re both back in town forging new lives, but Maya has no time to rekindle a relationship. She has big plans to open her own bakery, and Dean’s adorable smile is already too much of a distraction.
Dean’s Christmas improves when he gets to spend it with Maya, but she doesn’t seem to feel the same. He wants her in his life, but not if she doesn’t want romance. Santa delivers Maya and Dean a chance at a sweet Christmas, if they can see the gifts right in front of them.
Spend Christmas in Loving, Montana, where the Matchmakers are always at work!
Length: 50 pages/11,000 words (Perfect for reading on a break, while you wait, or on a cozy holiday evening!)
Heat level: Sweet-Kisses Only
More About Reina
Reina M. Williams writes sweet Austen-inspired and fairy tale romances. She loves period dramas, cooking, baking, and reading. She has a B.A. in History and did graduate study in English Literature. A California native, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her two sons, who hope to someday take a research trip to England with their mom.